If you are a customer in the United States, Streak 7 is here. As of today, we’re selling it to customers in the United States via Dell.com and many T-Mobile stores across the country. If you’ve been interested in the Streak 7, I bet you’ve already seen reviews at sites like Crunchgear, CNET and Wired. Still, I think it’s worth spending a few minutes to give you some perspective after I’ve had a chance to use the device over the last several days.
Update, 4/25: If you’re in the United States and have been waiting for the Wi-Fi only version of the Streak 7 tablet, it’s available now for $399.99. More details in my post here.
The Streak 7 is built to take advantage of T-Mobile’s brand new 4G network. As of today, you can walk into many of their stores in the United States, try it out, and walk out with one. New or existing T-Mobile customers can purchase the new Streak 7 for $199 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Without a contract, the price for customers is $449. If you pay the $449 price, you can opt for the Pay-as-you-Go options that start at $25 a month. Customers on Dell.com can buy the Streak 7 for $199 with a 2-year T-Mobile contract or the same $449 price if you’d rather the Pay-as-you-Go route.
Besides being able to take advantage of the T-Mobile 4G network, this thing packs some hardware under the hood. NVIDIA’s Tegra 20 dual core 1GHz processor makes Android 2.2 pretty zippy. No matter if you are cruising through Dell Stage widgets, watching high-quality video via YouTube or playing games, it’s all good. No question customers who buy the Streak 7 will want all kinds of connectivity options, and this thing delivers as well. Internal 802.11n is standard on all Streak 7 tablets. If you decide to add a 4G data plan, you’ll be able to use video chat functionality powered by Qik either via 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi. For video chatting, the Streak 7 features a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing one. If you’re just looking for a phone call without video, Skype is a great option in my opinion.
Here’s a video from Kevin Andrew from the Streak development team for a quick overview of Streak 7’s features:
I got to keep one for a few days to kick the tires a bit. After doing so, I can say there’s a lot to like. Performance is snappy across the board. Web browsing is a great experience too—with the 7-inch screen, I hardly ever used pinch and zoom functionality (thought it is smooth and responsive when I did). I also changed the browser settings to see the full site by default. Because the Streak 7 fully supports Flash 10.1, and because of the screen real estate, there’s no reason to view the mobile version of websites. Same goes for YouTube—I changed the settings to default to high quality versions of the videos. Playback looks pristine, both over Wi-Fi and via T-Mobile’s 4G speeds. According to Speedtest.net, I averaged around 3 – 4Mbps download speeds over the T-Mobile 4G network. See image at right. You can click on any of the images I took to see larger versions. You can see other images at the Dell Streak 7 Tablet set on our Flickr page.
I also tried a few games out and was pretty impressed. The obligatory Angry Birds looked and played flawlessly. The screen is big enough that I could zoom out to see the entire level. I also tried a couple of Gameloft titles to try to tax the hardware a bit more. Similar experience… very smooth performance on the Asphalt 5 HD racing game. Same goes for Let’s Golf and Let’s Golf 2 HD. And like I mentioned in the CES post, we support Dell Stage software on the Streak 7, so that means quick access to all your contacts and music, photos and videos. See below pic of Dell Stage showing some of my music in portrait mode. I definitely used Stage more in portrait mode on the Streak 7 (see image on the left).
The Streak 7 feels pretty solid in hand and it’s pretty impressive at 0.49 in thick. It is slightly thicker and heavier than the Streak 5, but in my view, nothing more than you would expect for a device that has almost 95% more screen than the 5-inch Streak. Navigation-wise, it’s pretty straightforward—just like the Streak 5 it has three buttons: a back button, a menu button and a home button. The Streak 7 has speakers on the left and right corner of the device which enables surprisingly good stereo playback if you want to listen to music or watch a video with others.
For those who really want to share the audio video experience, we offer a new Home Dock which is compatible with both the Streak 5 and the new Streak 7. The dock lets you charge your device and synch data to your PC simultaneously. When connected to it, the Streak 7 supports HDMI output of audio and video up to 1080p through the HDMI connection on the dock. HD videos looked and sounded great on my HD set via HDMI using the Home Dock.
When a Streak 7 is connected to the dock, it supports a new feature called Dock Mode. It’s similar to the dock mode we support on he Inspiron duo. Once you connect the Streak 7 into the dock, you have easy access to an alarm clock, music and images. The built-in picture frame functionality makes it easy to start some music and a slideshow of pictures you have on the device. So whether you have it connected to your TV in the living room or you connect the dock in the kitchen, it’s easy to share the experience with others. The Home Dock also charges the Streak 7 tablet.
The Streak 7 has a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera that is capable of shooting video up to 720p. It has a front facing 1.3 megapixel camera. In my experience, the cameras worked pretty well, and it was simple to switch between still and video camera modes or to change setting to use the flash or to switch between the preset picture modes. And as you would expect, you can share images or videos to sites like Facebook, Flickr or YouTube in a couple of simple clicks. To store all those images and videos, beyond the 16GB embedded SD card storage that comes standard, the Streak 7 also features a user-accessible SD card slot so you can add more storage capability (up to 64GB) with the same type of storage card you probably use in your digital camera. The SD (and the microSD) card slot is on the side of the device below where your SIM card slot is:
Bottom line, after spending some quality time with the Dell Streak 7, I liked it a lot. Feel free to leave comments or questions on this blog post, and if you’re on Twitter, and want to follow the conversation, please check out the #streak7 hashtag.